What began as an exploration into living without technology turned into a tale of a third-generation mapmaker, passion and family.
IT WAS, TO put it gently, a really stupid idea.
Every night, I walked by Metsker Maps in Pike Place Market, and as I passed the store one evening, I peered at the window display for the 100th time and thought: I have no idea how to use a map. And then, more brilliantly, I thought: I’ll pick a spot across the mountains, try to get there using only a map and … write about it!
I walked into Metsker and clumsily explained my idea. I told one of Metsker’s co-owners that before I left, I wanted to talk to someone who viewed maps with the same mix of pride, nostalgia and stubbornness that I have for newspapers.
She answered right away.
Most Read Stories
- Viaduct shutdown: Seattle businesses prepare for gridlock as three-week Highway 99 closure looms
- Instant analysis: Three impressions from the Seahawks' 26-23 loss to the San Francisco 49ers
- Seahawks GameCenter: Live updates, highlights from Seattle's overtime loss to San Francisco 49ers
- Seahawks set new single-game franchise record for penalty yards in stunning overtime loss to 49ers
- Seahawks repeatedly shoot themselves in the foot against the 49ers. But all is not lost ... yet | Larry Stone
Loacker is one of the co-owners of Metsker Maps, but he is the sole owner of Kroll Map Company, a business that has been in his family since 1920. I had no idea what to expect, but after our first conversation, I knew I had the story wrong.
It wasn’t the gimmicky journey of a hopeless millennial separated from technology. It was far more universal: a story about fathers and sons, about holding on to the past while hoping for a better future, about one man coming to terms with change in a city changing by the day.
It’s a story about John Loacker, but I hope it’s also a story about much more.